Hello and welcome to Amazing Travel Adventures – Mardi Gras New Orleans. Read on to explore Louisiana’s Mardi Gras history, the traditions that are carried on to this day, the festive colors, amazing food and more. Laissez le bon tamps rouler / Let the good time roll!
Mardi Gras History – New Orleans Style
It has been said the origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe. Mardi Gras in New Orleans arrived with explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville in 1699. Establishing cities and forts in Louisiana was Jean’s 1st priority, festivals were 2nd. The settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras in 1703. Well, secret societies celebrated Mardi Gras. It wasn’t until later, 1730’s that New Orleans celebrated Mardi Gras openly with everyone.
Mardi Gras Balls and Parades
Elegant Balls became the event to attend during the celebration of Mardi Gras starting in the 1740’s. Governor Marquis de Vaudreuil established a very high standard for New Orleans Mardi Gras balls that continue through present day. Formal, private balls, with masked attendees are a must see during Carnival, if you can get an invitation. There were no parades or floats in the beginning.
What? No parades?! That’s right, no Mardi Gras parades until the late 1830’s. The word parade might be exaggerating a bit. Street processions, or mini parades, made up of people in masks riding carriages and horses has evolved to become dozens of krewe members riding in and on up to 40 full sized floats. All float riders must wear a mask. It is actually a law. Go Mardi Gras!
Throws is the tradition of float riders throwing trinkets to the watching crowds. Throws include beads, noise makers, stuffed animals and more. This tradition is said to have started in 1870 and I am glad it continues.
Mardi Gras Colors
Once upon a time Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff was visiting New Orleans during the time of festival in 1872. The Duke’s family colors are gold, green and purple so it was decided his family colors would become Carnival’s official colors. Or so some history books have stated. The true “where did Mardi Gras colors come from” question is still be debated today. What we do know as truth is that in 1892 Rex, the Carnival King, assigned a specific meaning to each color. Gold means power. Green stands for faith. Purple represents justice. Interesting history or not history. Beautiful colors and beautiful meanings are all I need.
Mardi Gras Food
Mardi Gras celebrations mean King Cake! Yes, I am doing my Happy Dance right now!The King Cake tradition came over with settlers from France to New Orleans around 1870 and is a delicious way to celebrate Carnival. What started as a simple ring of dough with small amounts of decorations has evolved to creative, delicious, masterpieces full of color and flavor. Now let’s talk about what can be found on the inside of the King Cake. Every King Cake has a tiny baby inside. Once upon a time you could have / would have found a coin, a nut or other special item hidden within the cake. The lucky person to find the baby in their slice of cake is in charge of next year’s King Cake party!
Amazing Travel Adventures – Mardi Gras New Orleans
Thank you for joining me as we explored Amazing Travel Adventures – Mardi Gras New Orleans. Carnival is full of so much history and so many traditions. I love learning and I love people watching and Mardi Gras in New Orleans has both. Have you attended Carnival? Where and when? Share your adventure in the comments.
Looking for more to do in Louisiana? Check out my blog post A Stands for Amazing Travel Adventures – Louisiana. Discover Swamp Tours, Bourbon Street and more. It is one of the favorite states to visit and has something for everyone.
Until Next Time,
Erin at WonderLesch
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